January 18, 2024
Employer withholding of worker wages an escalating problem – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on enterprise, trade, and employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, said data she received from the Workplace Relations Commission shows that employer withholding of worker’s wages is becoming an escalating problem.

The Fingal TD has called for additional resourcing of the WRC to expose and tackle breaches of employment law.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The WRC does fantastic work on behalf of employees across this state.

“Last year they carried out 7,862 inspections and data released to me via Parliamentary Question shows that they recovered nearly €2 million in unpaid wages for workers.

“This data lifts the lid on a very disturbing practice.

“Unfortunately, this practice has become an escalating problem across workplaces, with the 2023 figure is up almost a third on last year and twice what it was in 2021.

“Indeed, the WRC has recovered nearly €22 million in withheld workers’ wages since 2011.

“The withholding of wages is particularly rampant in sectors where young people, women and migrant workers are highly employed – the food, drink, hotel, and retail sectors. These four sectors accounted for 62 per cent of all wages withheld last year – over €1.2 million.

“There is an old saying: ‘Always pay what you owe and always ask for what you’re owed’, and I am sure these employers wouldn’t be shy in letting a customer, or business, know if they owed them money.

“Not only is this practice an illegal and horrible way to treat workers, but it also puts decent and compliant businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

“The only way to combat this unscrupulous practice is to empower and fund the WRC to carry out a greater number of investigations across the whole economy.”

The Parliamentary Question response is available to view here

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